The goal of IT is to deliver accurate, complete and relevant information in a secure fashion to people and processes on demand. Information about the parties you do business with is a critical asset to business. As business organizations have grown organically and through acquisition, data about customers is stored in many places in the enterprise. Each data store is defined differently, used by different business processes and updated by different business applications. The keys for and links between the data that describes customers gets out of alignment with the characteristics of customers in the real world. Customers change frequently, as do the business processes that manage customer information, the business logic in applications and the metadata associated with the data stores. The difference between people and legal entities in the real world and the information we have about them is called customer data disorder. When the condition is advanced, business performance suffers.

Complete and accurate customer data is critical to business. Information about parties (people and legal entities) that large enterprises do business with is frequently incomplete and inaccurate. Questions like, “How many customers do we have?” are often difficult to answer. Poor quality party data negatively impacts business performance across functions. It masks a true understanding of risk and profitability. It impacts the effectiveness of marketing and sales. It hampers the productivity of service. It results in conflicting reports and makes it more difficult to comply with legal requirements and regulations. “Improving data quality/information integrity” was the most pervasive technology concern cited by 58 percent of the 653 respondents to a recent CSC/FEI/FERF survey.1

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